Sheriff's Posses have existed in the United States since the 1700's. In the West, territorial jurisdictions were vast and law enforcement was minimal. Sheriffs and marshals often deputized citizens to capture criminals and enforce the law. That is true today; the Sheriff's Posse is used by the Weld County Sheriff's Office to provide law enforcement service to the citizens of Weld County. There has been a Sheriff's Posse in Weld County since the late 1800's. Our current Posse was formed in 1958.
The Posse's of the Wild West were made up of a wide variety of citizens from all types of backgrounds and occupations; some of the members of our current Posse are law enforcement officers, but many are members of the community who have full-time jobs and serve in their spare time as volunteer members. They all have a desire to serve their community and to provide a service to the Sheriff's Office.
The Weld County Sheriff’s Posse membership consists of volunteer reserve deputies and citizen volunteers. Reserve deputies hold Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification and are sworn in as peace officers to serve in a supplementary capacity under the direct supervision of fully-certified Deputy Sheriffs. Volunteers are non-sworn personnel who supplement and support the certified deputies and civilian personnel of the Sheriff’s Office. The various positions within the Posse are:
· Reserve deputy
· Mounted reserve deputy
· Mounted volunteer
· Bike patrol reserve deputy
· Bike patrol volunteer
Whether it is on a horse, on a bike, in a patrol car, or on foot, all of the members give their time freely to work the numerous events during the year. There are a variety of ‘jobs’ that the posse performs for the Sheriff’s Office and the community:
· Security at the Greeley Stampede, the Weld County Fair, the Weld County Farm Show, and other events
· Crime scene security
· Searches for missing persons and evidence
· Jail ‘shakedowns’, which are organized searches for contraband in the jail facility
· Assisting patrol and detention deputies with daily tasks
The members of the Sheriff’s Posse participate in training to learn the different skills needed by law enforcement officers. The mounted unit trains monthly and practices horsemanship skills, mounted law enforcement techniques, and ranch skills. The horses used in the mounted unit are owned by the members of the Posse. The bike patrol trains regularly on the specialized techniques unique to using bicycles on patrol. All members of the Sheriff’s Posse have the opportunity to learn law enforcement skills; some of these skills are arrest control techniques, traffic control, report writing, and methods for searching for evidence or people.
The members of the Weld County Sheriff’s Posse give an extraordinary amount of time each year in their service to the community. The Posse is an integral part of Sheriff’s Office operations, and the dedication of the members is the reason for the longevity and success of the Weld County Sheriff’s Posse.